Check out the Team CCO booth at the Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8K Expo! If you’re headed to the Expo don’t forget to stop by our booth and learn more about how Team CCO is helping to alleviate hunger and homelessness in Chicago!
The Bank of America Shamrock Shuffle 8k is this Sunday. It’s not too late to make a financial donation. Visit CrowdRise to choose a Team CCO runner and make a donation that will help alleviate homelessness and hunger in Chicago. Thank you!
In the 1960’s John F. Kennedy brought the issue of hunger and poverty to the forefront of American politics. He did so by reestablishing the Food Stamp Program that had begun several decades before. This government subsidized program has gone through several changes since its inception. In 2008, the Food Stamp Program became known as the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This program has assisted hungry families and individuals throughout America to purchase nutritious foods from participating stores. Food assistance is offered to people at or below the poverty line.
In recent years these vital programs have been significantly reduced. In 2013, the federal government reduced the SNAP program by 5%. This may seem like a small reduction, but studies conducted by Feed America and the Greater Chicago Food Depository (GCFD) reflect a significant number of families and individuals who visit food pantries in order to pay for necessities, such as, medication, transportation, school, and utilities. We have found this to be true among our pantry attendees at CCO.
Food assistance for many people is a homeless prevention program. Meaning that a growing number of folks need consistent on-going food assistance in order to pay rent or cover the very basics of life. CCO’s food pantry program is one of our longest running services. We are grateful to be a positive help to our neighbors in need. Our weekly pantry is filled with nutritious foods, including fresh produce, from the Greater Chicago Food Depository. The pantry is entirely staffed by faithful, hard working volunteers, some of attended the pantry in past years.
The food items and work force are provided without charge but we do have utility and security expenses. Consider donating today! Be a part of the good things that are happening every day at CCO!
Recently, CCO received this sweet letter from a young supporter:
“Dear Cornerstone, I am giving you $11.00 so you can feed the poor people and give them drinks. You guys could buy some nice hot soup so the poor people will have nice delicious hot soup.”
Wow! We are never too young (or too old) to care for others! If you are interested in donating to CCO click the donate button on the right. Your support helps homeless families and individuals receive safe shelter, nutritious meals, and intensive case management services.
Chicago is experiencing record-breaking cold weather conditions. In the early mornings and evenings outreach staff continue to visit the viaducts, loading docks, and underpasses in our area to get our homeless friends living on the streets inside and out of danger. As always, CCO has remained open and outreach workers will be working throughout the sub-zero temperatures.
CCO believes that affordable housing is a human right. Until housing is secured people should be offered safe, warm shelter, nutritious meals and services that can stabilize their lives and promote a brighter future.
On average 140 children are sheltered with their parents each day at CCO. The Chicago Coalition for the Homeless uses Chicago Public School information to estimate the number of homeless children in Chicago. In the 2013-2014 academic school year 22,144 school-aged children were homeless in our city. The number of homeless children has increased by 18% from the previous school year.
Many factors contribute to the increase in homelessness, such as, the demolition of tens of thousands of CHA housing units with very few replaced, a time-limit on public benefits, inadequate income from employment, lack of safe affordable childcare, and decrease in government assistance. All of these deficiencies have created a greater demand for safe shelters for families of all descriptions.
CCO is privileged to welcome and assist homeless families of all descriptions. This includes, three-generational families, couples with children, mothers with children, and fathers with children. Join us in providing safe shelter, nutritious meals, and intensive case management services to the families sheltered at CCO. Consider donating today!
CCO men heading to the Epworth Church where they sleep each night.
Blowing snow and frigid temperatures this week means that CCO staff embarked on many evening runs in a large maxi van. Since last Sunday, staff have been driving our men’s shelter guests from CCO to Epworth Church where they sleep every night. In the daytime, the men meet with their case workers and have meals in the main CCO buildings.
Consider donating to CCO and being a part of the good things that are happening (no matter the weather) here! Thank you!
The maxi van take the men to Epworth Church where they sleep each night.
Sandy Ramsey, CCO Executive Director, drives the men sheltered at CCO to Epworth Church.
Over 130 children and youth are sheltered with their parents at CCO, during the holidays and all throughout the year. Our donors, volunteers, and supporters have always been a valuable part of making the season bright for each and every child. Holiday work starts as early as September with individuals and groups contacting Eve, our Christmas coordinator, anxious to gather new toys and basic necessities for the families sheltered with us. As the gifts begin to arrive in December, Eve and her group of volunteers, wrap, organize and sort the gifts into family groups. It takes a lot of hours and input to make Christmas shine. Then the gifts are delivered to the parents of each family to celebrate the holiday when and how they choose. This way, parents feel empowered and able to give gifts to their children themselves. We have had many parents tell us that their Christmas at CCO has been the best Christmas they’ve ever had. Hearing comments like that make all the work worth it!
The giving doesn’t stop with the families. The residents of our single women and single men’s shelter are no less important. Each program celebrates with a festive party that includes decorations, a delicious holiday meal and gifts. Everyone is valued and no one is left out.
As you celebrate the holidays this year remember CCO and considering making a holiday or year-end donation. Your gift is 100% tax deductible and you will have the knowledge that you are a part of making the holidays and every day brighter for our shelter guests.
Have you heard of Giving Tuesday? Learn more about creative ways you can give on December 2nd. “It’s a simple idea. Just find a way for your family, your community, your company or your organization to come together to give something more.”
“We are so thankful!” This may be a surprising comment to hear from someone who is homeless and living in a shelter over the Holiday Season. The truth is, we hear it often. This statement and others like it are examples of the sincerity, resilience and determination of our shelter guests. We are grateful to see them rise up each day and try to take steps toward self-sufficiency and stable housing. We are grateful to be able to help our shelter guests in their journey and we are grateful to you, our donors, for giving us the support we need to carry on with this critical work.
Using data from the US Census and Public School records, the National Center on Family Homelessness reports that nearly 2.5 million American children experienced homelessness in 2013. That is 1 in 30 children. At CCO, we are grateful to be able to offer safe shelter to children with their parents and help them work towards a stable future.
While staying at CCO our school age children attend free after-school tutoring through Chicago Hopes. Back to school events and holiday parties make our kids feel special and cared for. One of our valuable volunteers delivers a birthday party to the shelter when it’s one of the children’s birthdays. She finds out what kind of cake the child likes and makes it. She wraps new gifts from the donations we receive. It’s great to think that kids will look back at their time of homelessness and also have these special memories. And, of course, compassionately supporting and assisting parents throughout their homeless experience at CCO has a lasting impact on the lives of their children.
Join us in this important effort. Consider donating today! Thank you!
To read the full report by the National Center on Family Homelessness click here.